Born Mar. 19, 1861, in Paris; died there Sept. 6, 1949. French writer and publicist.
Descaves’s predilection for naturalism is demonstrated in his first collection of novellas, The Suffering of Héloïse Padajou (1882). The same tendency characterized the novel The Noncommissioned Officers (1889), which exposed corruption in the French Army, and Descaves’s subsequent works, which were basically social and democratic. The central theme of his best-known novel, The Column (1901; translated into Russian in 1930), is the pulling down of the Vendóme Column at the time of the Paris Commune in 1871. The novel is permeated with faith in the Commune and its supporters, but it fails to reflect the importance of the revolution and the role played in it by the popular masses, for Descaves’s narrative advocates reform and not revolution. From 1900 to 1944, Descaves was secretary, and from 1945 president, of the Académic Goncourt.
WORKSLa Cage: Drame. Paris, 1898.
Philemon, vieux de la vieille. Paris, 1913.
Souvenirs d’un ours. Paris, 1946.
In Russian translation.
Varavva. [Kharkov] 1926.
REFERENCESIstoriia frantsuzskoi literatury, vol. 3. Moscow, 1959.
Zévaès, A. Les Procès littéraires aux XIX siècle. Paris, 1924.
Descaves, P. Mémoires de ma mémoire. Paris, 1960.
M. A. GOL’DMAN